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Discussion Starter #1
This came up in my Alaska thread and I typed the response there and then decided before posting it that it probably was better in a new thread in this forum rather than Ride Tales. If anyone has BMW/J&M corded headsets and has any insight here, I would greatly appreciate it. The problem has been both maddening and elusive thus far. I kept the post I was responding to for context. The issue is that my wife’s headset causes a random crackling that causes the voice activation circuit to trigger constantly which shuts down the music. Some times it happens hardly at all and some times it is pretty much continuous crackling.

Have you tried contact cleaner on all of your connections? That solved my noise problem, but I was using the JMCB 2003. Another thought is that your wife is riding higher than you and getting some wind noise that passes over you triggering the mike.

Thanks again for the ride reports.
Yes, before we left I bought a can of electrical contact cleaner and cleaned every connection: DINs on the bike and cord, the connection between the two cords, and the connection of the cord to the helmet. I even added a little dielectric grease in case there was any corrosion, although I saw none. It didn’t help in the least.

It isn’t wind noise. It happens when we are sitting still if Linda moves her cords at all. I was sure it was the cords when it first happened as we could really make it crackle when we moved her cord around. I bought new upper and lower cords from J&M and it made no difference at all. She said she thinks it crackles more when she moves the cord near her helmet as compared to the cord that connects to the bike so I am suspecting the attachment to the helmet now. It also seems that her headset connector (it looks to be a two-piece molding) is a little loose between the two parts whereas mine is really tight. I see J&M sells just the helmet connector part for $43 so I may just get one to try that. I don’t think the issue is with the speakers, but it could be in the mic itself, but they rarely go bad and moving the eternal cords should not affect the mic. I like that J&M connects their speakers and mic via connectors in the helmet. This allows me to replace just the cord connector without having to buy all new speakers and mic.

However, I first want to do some more troubleshooting before throwing parts at the problem. At least swap the helmets front to back to try to eliminate the bike intercom or wiring as an issue.

I am wondering if her helmet headset has been defective right from the start. I say that because from the time they were new, these headsets would activate the VOX if the volume was turned up very high and a song came on that hit high notes. I thought it was a VOICE II setting, but I fiddled with the settings for hours when the bike was new and never could eliminate the problem. The odd part is that I don’t ever recall trying the volume with just my helmet attached. Since I had a lot of time to think about this on the ride through the midwest, one of the times when Linda disconnected her helmet to not have to listen to the crackling, I cranked up the volume as far as I could stand it (with earplugs in!) and the VOX never triggered with my helmet alone attached. So, I am wondering if there is a defect in her connector that was allowing crosstalk between the speaker signal and the mic and maybe that got to the point of having wires actually touching now which is causing the crackling.

It has driven us to the point of talking about getting BT headsets and trying the BT adapter, but that is nearly $1,000 for both of our helmets. And we both really like corded headsets much better than the Sena BT units that we have twice rented.
 

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From what you have posted, I think you are on the right track with it being her headset unit or cord. If you can pull back the cover where the wires enter the plug, you may be able to see the issue, but it is most likely sealed and you will just need to replace the cord.
Good luck
 

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I have an Autocom corded system and had similar symptoms that turned out to be damaged wires where the cable enters the helmet. This was likely caused by setting the helmet down on the cord and creating too tight a bend radius.
I repaired the wires (ended up with a shorter pigtail) and added layers of shrink tubing for strain relief in an attempt to prevent it from reoccurring. The strongest control to prevent damage for me was to not rest the helmet on the cord.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have an Autocom corded system and had similar symptoms that turned out to be damaged wires where the cable enters the helmet. This was likely caused by setting the helmet down on the cord and creating too tight a bend radius.
I repaired the wires (ended up with a shorter pigtail) and added layers of shrink tubing for strain relief in an attempt to prevent it from reoccurring. The strongest control to prevent damage for me was to not rest the helmet on the cord.
That is my current point of highest suspicion now also. I am thinking of buying a new clamp/connector unit given that the cost is pretty reasonable. I just want to try to rule out the bike as the problem before investing in the headsets.

How did you detect the damaged wires? Was the damage visible? Or could you feel a break through the insulation? My wife’s headset looks fine visually and and felt the wires between my thumb and forefinger as I flexed them and could not feel any weakness indicating a wire break inside the insulation.

I am suspecting it may be the connector itself and that appears to be a sealed unit that can’t be repaired.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Does anyone else have a BMW/J&M corded headset in use with a VOICE II intercom? I am wondering if my issue with high volume and high pitched music causing the VOX to activate is inherent to this system or unique to my particular system.
 

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How did you detect the damaged wires? Was the damage visible? Or could you feel a break through the insulation?
With the headset plugged in, manipulating the wire at that location caused lots of noise and crackle over the headset whereas manipulation of the connector was benign. There was no damage visible nor could I feel any break in wires. The outer cord sheath is fairly thick, but apparently not thick enough to protect the small gauge wires within.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
With the headset plugged in, manipulating the wire at that location caused lots of noise and crackle over the headset whereas manipulation of the connector was benign. There was no damage visible nor could I feel any break in wires. The outer cord sheath is fairly thick, but apparently not thick enough to protect the small gauge wires within.
Do you mean the wires in the coiled cord that connects the helmet to the bike? If that is the case, I have pretty much ruled that out when I bought all new cords and they still did the same thing.

Or do you mean the wires on the helmet itself that run from the headset connector to the mic and speakers? That is the connector and wires that I now suspect. Basically, the parts in the picture I attached to my earlier post.
 

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I found the wires on the helmet were damaged.
 

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I had the same issue with my older Autocomm cords. Thought it was the connectors and it turned out to be broken wires. The insulation would hold the broken wire in contact but any movement would break the connection. I cut it open and repaired it a few times and then just bought new cords. I isolated it by holding the connector still and wiggled the wires at each end of the connector. I could repeat the crackle very reliably.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had the same issue with my older Autocomm cords. Thought it was the connectors and it turned out to be broken wires. The insulation would hold the broken wire in contact but any movement would break the connection. I cut it open and repaired it a few times and then just bought new cords. I isolated it by holding the connector still and wiggled the wires at each end of the connector. I could repeat the crackle very reliably.
I am hoping I can isolate the problem that easily and reliably also. I may get to it Saturday, but tomorrow is busy all day.
 

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FWIW- i screwed with cables and bad connections and forgetting to unplug when i got off and worst yet the WIFE got off in a panic to go to the loo and ripped the cable - finally gave up on the old technology and went to a Scalia Rider - wife now listens to the GPS and her audio books and just tune out and never a issue -
 

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Discussion Starter #12
FWIW- i screwed with cables and bad connections and forgetting to unplug when i got off and worst yet the WIFE got off in a panic to go to the loo and ripped the cable - finally gave up on the old technology and went to a Scalia Rider - wife now listens to the GPS and her audio books and just tune out and never a issue -
I’m on the fence now. I really like corded connections as I have to carry enough battery charging equipment now and am not inclined to carry more (already have 4 devices that need charging every night). I also don’t like devices that have only an internal battery with no swappable battery packs. If there was a BT headset that had swappable batteries like my power tools and cameras, I’d probably buy one. However, as long as they are like cell phones where the phone is trash once the battery gets tired, I probably will avoid them. I had two days on my last tour of Europe where the Sena battery died before we reached our hotel, both times in the city where hearing the GPS voice commands is especially useful. That is very annoying. I guess I have to start riding shorter days. :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, I found some time to troubleshoot today and I fear the problem is not easily solved. Here is a little background and what I tried and found today.

I have the VOICE II intercom and I bought the BMW branded headsets shortly after buying the LT. I am not 100% sure, but I am pretty sure that the headsets were made by J&M as they look like the J&M units and J&M cords work with them. I think the VOICE II intercom MAY have been a J&M product also, but I am much less confident of that.

From the first time we used the headsets, I noticed that I could not turn the volume up too loud or the VOX would activate. Particularly, on a song with very high notes in it. I should have looked into that issue at that time while under warranty, but since the volume was high enough to hear, I didn’t bother just assuming it was characteristic of that system. Although, my former Kawasaki with it’s Clarion radio and intercom had no such issue.

The headsets worked fairly well up until our ride to the CCR reunion last year. We started hearing static that was quite random, but seemed to be exacerbated by motion of the passenger headset cord. So, when we got back, I bought new headset cords for Linda’s helmet, but that made no difference and the noise keeps getting worse.

Here is what I did today:

1. I plugged my headset into the front connector. The music played fine with no static and I could turn the volume up to ear bleed level with no VOX activation even while moving the cords all around.

2. I plugged Linda’s headset into the front connector. The music again played fine with no static and I could turn up the volume high with no VOX again while moving the cords all over the place. Hmmm... Not looking like a helmet or cord problem.

3. I plugged my headset into the rear connector. The music played with no static, but as soon as I turned up the volume much the VOX turned off the music.

4. I plugged Linda’s headset into the rear connector and got the same results as with mine in step 3.

5. I plugged my helmet into the front connector and Linda’s into the rear per our normal configuration and the volume would again activate the VOX and now moving the rear connection cords would cause the static in both headsets and VOX activation.

6. I swapped helmets and plugged Linda’s into the front connector and mine into the rear. Got the same results as in step 5. If the volume is tuned up, the VOX activates even when the static is not present. And any motion of the rear connection cords will initiate the static.

7. I tried to see if the issue was with the rear DIN connector, but I am doubting that is the case. I would wiggle the cord plug slowly into and out of the connector and nothing seemed to change. And moving the connector alone did not cause static, only movement of the cords or even pinching them hard seemed to cause static and VOX activation.

So, here is my best theory, but I would be curious to hear thoughts from others, particularly if anyone here has the same configuration of a VOICE II intercom with BMW or J&M corded headsets.

Since the issue occurred since the bike was new, I suspect there is a defect in either the VOICE II intercom circuitry itself or possibly in the wiring to the rear DIN connector. It appears that there is crosstalk between the mic circuit for the rear DIN connector and one or both speaker channels (which just gave me an idea for another test) such that when the volume is increased it is fed back on the mic circuit to the VOX circuit. This is a stretch, I agree, but I suspect the movement of the cord is causing enough of an impedance change that this is somehow causing static in the mic circuit when then gets fed into the speakers for both helmets. I don’t think it is an actual short in the cords as it is very unlikely that both helmet’s cords could work in the front connector if there was anything wrong with them.

I don’t know if the stereo balance works for the headsets as well as for the bike speakers, but if it does, I can do a test with the balance completely left and then completely right and see if the static and volume-based VOX occurs with both channels or just one. I am not sure that gets me any closer to a solution, but it might be interesting.

If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know. Or if you know anyone who might be able to look at the VOICE II and see if it is defective or not. It seems hard to believe this is simply an issue with the wiring harness to the rear DIN, but I suppose that is possible. I don’t think it is a connection issue as I have had the stingray off many times and the top case off a few times and the volume initiated VOX issue has always been there and has not changed with the disconnection and reconnection of either the stingray or top case connections.

Anyone have a good VOICE II unit you want to sell?
 

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Not sure if this is related as I have the JMCB unit.

I found that if I used only the rider connection and left the passenger connection open, there would occasionally be either voice cutout or noise. The solution was to turn down the rear volume on the J&M. To do this on my standard J&M unit, I pull the volume control to adjust the passenger volume. Don't know if the voice 2 works the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Not sure if this is related as I have the JMCB unit.

I found that if I used only the rider connection and left the passenger connection open, there would occasionally be either voice cutout or noise. The solution was to turn down the rear volume on the J&M. To do this on my standard J&M unit, I pull the volume control to adjust the passenger volume. Don't know if the voice 2 works the same way.
I don’t know how the VOICE II works either. However, mine does not seem too have the problem you describe. Mine works great when my wife’s helmet is not plugged it. It only acts up when hers is plugged in. Very odd. I wish I had an o-scope so I could do a little more troubleshooting as a VOM doesn’t help much at audio frequencies. :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Anyone ever see a schematic for the VOICE II intercom? I found the installation guide, but it shows very little detail. It would be helpful to even have the DIN pin outs. I would like to at least check for grounds. Although, I suppose being audio outputs they may well be isolated from chassis/battery ground.

If I can trace back which connections on the stingray go to the front and rear DIN, I am hoping I can swap them to see if the problem moves with the wiring to the DIN connectors or stays on the passenger channel as that would help determine if the issue is internal to the intercom or in the wiring to the connectors.
 

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Anyone ever see a schematic for the VOICE II intercom? I found the installation guide, but it shows very little detail. It would be helpful to even have the DIN pin outs. I would like to at least check for grounds. Although, I suppose being audio outputs they may well be isolated from chassis/battery ground.

If I can trace back which connections on the stingray go to the front and rear DIN, I am hoping I can swap them to see if the problem moves with the wiring to the DIN connectors or stays on the passenger channel as that would help determine if the issue is internal to the intercom or in the wiring to the connectors.
I don't know what system this is other than it saying K1200LT ComSystem. I found it in my "Book-O-Knowledge" that I maintain for my LT. I've never had anything but the Baehr Intercom in mine and I don't remember where this came from! Maybe it will help, maybe not. I took photos of the pages on the way out the door so they're not very clear. If they are helpful and would like copies, PM me........:smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I don't know what system this is other than it saying K1200LT ComSystem. I found it in my "Book-O-Knowledge" that I maintain for my LT. I've never had anything but the Baehr Intercom in mine and I don't remember where this came from! Maybe it will help, maybe not. I took photos of the pages on the way out the door so they're not very clear. If they are helpful and would like copies, PM me........:smile:
Thanks for taking the time to post this. I am not familiar with all of the generations of intercoms either, but I believe the ComSystem was one of the first that the LT had and is at least one generation prior to my VOICE II. I think this may be the one that J&M made for BMW before they had a parting of the ways.

This does not look much like my VOICE II which has an overall layout like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I was hoping I could swap the front and rear cables to the DIN connectors at the VOICE II so I could rule out the wiring as the problem, but it appears that the cable to the front DIN connector is directly wired to the VOICE II with no separate connector like is on the extension cable for the rear connector. I am sure this saved BMW a dollar or two, but makes troubleshooting much more difficult.
 

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I have an Autocom headset. It crackles time to time to. But i have the JMCB2003 model CB with Push to talk buttons. So i don't have the interruptions in music
 
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